Updated: Feb 17
Two years ago, my friend Tim reached out to me and asked me if I can shoot a surprise proposal to his girlfriend, Emily. Of course I told him yes. We talked for days about how to make it happen. I had to be there to take photos of him proposing so we had to make it believable as to why I would be there.
We came up with the idea that I would be using them for a short film I was shooting. The game plan was that I would shoot a scene with them in Hoboken overlooking the New York City cityscape in the background. The only catch: Tim wanted to do this on Christmas Eve morning. This wasn’t a big deal to me. But after he told Emily the fake plan of me wanting to shoot a short film on Christmas Eve morning, I don’t think she was too happy about it. I joked with Tim that Emily hated me even before she’d ever met me.
Tim and I had decided we would do the proposal shoot early in the morning; really early. We wanted to do the shoot at sunrise. Because of that, it felt like it was going to be too early to drive there in the morning (which was about an hour from where we live). We all decided it would make more sense to stay at a hotel in Hoboken the night before and drive a few minutes to Liberty State Park where we would do the actual shoot.
The night before, Laura and I drove to Hoboken and met Tim and Emily at the hotel bar and talked about the pretend video shoot for the next morning. I came up with a random idea for what I wanted to shoot and tried to walk them through my totally fake plan. Emily seemed to buy it for now. The next morning would be something totally different.
We woke up in the morning and headed over to the state park. I think it was around 5:00 in the morning when I was getting ready. I was tired. Laura was even more tired. But we wanted to make sure we got the right shots. We all arrived at Liberty State Park before the sun even came up. My heart was in my chest as I looked around trying to figure out the best backdrop for the photos. I’m not much of an actor but I had to make sure my acting skills were up to par. I needed to make sure Emily believed what I was doing.
I remember pulling Tim over to the side a few times and going over when I wanted him to do it. It was such a tense moment. I have shot countless weddings, short films, commercial shoots, and everything in between, but there is nothing more nerve racking than a proposal shoot. It is such a powerful moment that has to be so carefully orchestrated. You can only do it once.
Needless to say, I think everything turned out well. Laura and I set up a scene where Emily would have her back turned to Tim and then we had her turn around when we said “action”. And there was Tim, down on one knee, waiting for her to say yes. It was a magical moment and one that Laura and I will never forget.
Fast forward two years and we had the amazing opportunity to shoot video for Tim and Emily’s wedding. This was our first opportunity to see everything from proposal to wedding. We were the only other people besides Tim and Emily to see their proposal in person, and then we had the chance to see them in front of all their friends and family saying their “i do”s. It really was a magical experience.
Tim and Emily’s wedding was fantastic. Their ceremony and reception was at The Mill Lakeside Manor. It was a beautiful venue and it was a perfectly sunny day. We shot alongside Nona Martin Photography, who was super easygoing to work with and were very professional.
Being there for Tim and Emily, both as friends and as professionals for their special moments will always mean everything to us and we couldn’t be more proud to make sure they will remember the most important parts of their lives forever!